I recently attended a day-long workshop on political campaigning. The workshop was sponsored by a group looking to get more women elected to public office. I have always had an interest in running, so I thought I would check out the class. Even though the amount of women in federal, state, and municipal government positions has increased since the days of earning equal rights, there is still a disproportionate amount of men in politics compared to women. There are many reasons for this disparity, but the most pressing is a lack of confidence.
Statistically men with little or no relevant experience enter politics at a rate much higher than women. Not unlike men, women have a desire to be good at what we do, but women tend to take this desire to a literal level. Women feel the need to master all of the topics and issues before deciding to even run for office, and men will run for a position before mastering those things, deciding to instead figure them out after being elected. Women take their time in making this decision, and they need to be asked and re-asked to run seven more times than men.
When a woman is asked to run for office, lead a group, take on a difficult project or accept a role that carries a large amount of power, their answer is often “But I’m just a <fill in the blank>.”
- “You should run for a position on the school board!” “Oh, but I can’t – I’m just a Mom!”
- “You should share your experiences in a book, you’re a great writer.” “Haha, no way – I’m just a blogger.”
- “I think you should open up your own photography business. I love the photos you take!” “Oh my, I could never do that! I just take photos for fun.”
I JUST… I’M JUST A…
Why do we fail ourselves in this way? Why can’t we as women stand up and take the recognition we deserve and allow ourselves to accept positions of power?
Sure, you’re JUST A MOM…
and a manager
and a chef
and a housekeeper
and an interior decorator
and a cheerleader
and a chauffeur
and a librarian
and a teacher
Let’s stop selling ourselves short, ladies. If your dream is to run for Mayor, open a small business, or start a group around your hobby – can we promise to not only take the task seriously and give it our all, as we always do – but also to jump in with both feet, live our dreams and begin to accept the power we deserve? We owe it to our daughters and sons to see that we are more than just a <fill in the blank>.
We also owe it to ourselves.